Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic degenerative neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to control movements. Descriptions of PD have been around as far back as 5000BC. There is no known cause or cure for PD and typically as symptoms worsen the patient may take pharmaceutical medications to suppress the concerning symptoms. PD involves damage and malfunction of the brain’s neurons or nerve cells. It particularly affects an area called the substantia nigra and corpus striatum over time, the enteric nervous system, the medulla and in particular, the olfactory bulb. Some of these damaged neurons produce a hormone called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that sends messages to the brain that control smooth movement and co-ordination.
Early signs of PD are a loss of the sense of smell, sleep problems and constipation. These are common symptoms in the elderly population. A tremor may develop on one side of the body only, but in time it may be in both sides. Symptoms of PD may progress to a slow or shuffling gait, slow movement, tremors of the hands, arms, legs, jaw or face, rigid or stiff limbs, poor balance and co-ordination. Sometimes PD sufferers have a blank stare. Emotional symptoms include anxiety, depression and dementia. If PD progresses severely some of the symptoms are a lack of ability to walk, hallucinations and delusions. Typically PD occurs over the age of 65 but there are many incidences of early onset PD. Although there is no known cause, researchers have identified five genes related to PD. They have also found that those over the age of 60, being male, a history of head injuries and exposure to herbicides and pesticides may be have a higher risk factor for the development of PD.
In the clinic we have seen many cases of PD. The ones in the earlier stages tend to do much better than those with late stage PD. Although, homeopathic and natural medicines do not cure PD they can improve on some of the uncomfortable symptoms. Herein we will mention a few homeopathic medicines and mother tinctures.
Homeopathic mother tinctures are herbal preparations that are often used in homeopathic prescribing. They are herbal remedies so they may have side effects as opposed to homeopathic remedies however, if prescribed properly they should have minimal side effects compared to prescription drugs. However, if taking any prescription drugs be sure to check for side effects. Some mother tinctures that increase dopamine production are as follows:
Vinca Minor is a herb known as periwinkle or myrtle. This herb contains vinpocetine which helps to improve memory and blood flow. It has many beneficial properties and is used to increase circulation to the brain, eyes and ears. It improves oxygen and blood flow especially in the brain. It has some benefit for post stroke conditions.
Ashwagandha is an ayurvedic herb that helps with stress, anxiety, thyroid function, increases energy and is thought to protect brain cells from damage.
St. John’s Wort is a herb that is often used for mood and depression. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that St John’s Wort increases the feel good hormones serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones help to improve mood and can be effective in treating depression and increasing dopamine. As mentioned earlier dopamine helps with the symptoms of poor limb control and jerky movements in PD.
Mucuna pruriens is a legume known as velvet bean and is the best form of L dopa, the gold standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests Mucuna pruriens protects the brain by keeping cognitive functions in check and encouraging neural activity. In a nutshell mucuna helps by neutralizing free radical damage on unstable electrons that may damage neurons in the brain.
Green tea or L theanine has been known to increase dopamine as well and promote feelings of relaxation, improve mood, relaxation and blood flow to the brain. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found L theanine protects brain cells against toxins like excessive dopamine.
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen herb that is helpful for stress and adrenal fatigue. A study published in the Annals of Neurosciences found that Rhodiola actually has a beneficial impact on parkinson’s disease by preventing toxicity of the brain from a particular substance. It is a great supplement for stress, anxiety and fatigue although it is not a cure for PD. Researchers have found that rhodiola influences many hormones and inflammation that can impact and provide a positive potential future management of Parkinson’s disease.
Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of PD may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicines help the person suffering from PD not just the name of the disease. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for symptoms of PD but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:
Agaracus is a homeopathic medicine made from fly agaric. It is helpful for twitchings, during sleep, alcoholics who tend to develop tremblings and twitchings. These types are worse for cold air, drinking alcohol and mental exhaustion. These types may feel stiff all over, pain over the hips. The toes and feet may be cold and frozen. The face and eyes may twitch and suffer as if cold needles ran through them.
Manganum aceticum is a useful remedy for those with parkinson’s that may be due to an excess of the mineral manganese. These types have exaggerated reflexes, with an unusual gait where a person may inadvertently stagger and feel feeble. These types feel better lying down in bed. These types have pain in their body wherever touched. They have a tendency to fall forward and visual disturbances.
Rhus Tox is a remedy that is useful in PD where people tend to feel stiff muscles and joints that are better for motion. They may have numbness of parts. They feel better walking in open air, and irritable at night. These types may dwell on past occurrences after midnight which may affect sleep. The limbs feel numb and prickly after exposure to damp and over work. They are better for warmth and movement. Rhus tox types tend to feel as if their legs are made of wood, and their hamstrings are too short. They are better for motion, warmth and worse for straining, being inactive and cold and damp weather.
Zincum Metallicum types are fatigued mentally and deep in their brain. These types are tired, yet their limbs, like their legs and feet are very fidgety. They tend to have brain fatigue, stupor and are forgetful. They tend to be confused and dull after wine. These types feel depression with their disease, sensitive to noise and complains. These types may have burning along their spine, restless legs and their feet in continuous motion and trembling and twitching. The soles of their feet are sensitive. Their hands are weak and trembling. These types feel better for motion, pressure, rubbing and worse for wine, exhaustion and during the menses.
As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds.
In my years of practice, I have treated many people with PD. Their cases are difficult and those who do the best, know that healing is a process and one remedy will not be a wonder pill cure all. One remedy helps for the constitution and another may be needed at different times for acute problems or side effects from medications. The beauty of homeopathy is that it can work in conjunction with these medications so that the patient can have the best of both worlds to experience their best outcome using homeopathy.
Heather Caruso is a homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario. For more information or to book a free get acquainted chat go to www.carusohomeopathy.com